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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Yes Men
The Yes Men
MGM // R // February 15, 2005
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted February 7, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

"The Yes Men" is a fascinating documentary feature about a group of guys who smartly protest a series of world events, such as the one the film focuses on - the WTO (World Trade Organization) national meeting. The group reminds me of what the writers of "The Onion" must be like - smart guys (and girls) who could probably find their way into a high paying 9-to-5, but want to say something about the world or, in this case, do something about it.

The majority of the movie focuses on two of the "Men", Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, who get invited to the World Trade Organization Summit because their website bares resemblance to part of the organization. When they arrive, they "suggest" a costume for the corporate workforce that has to be seen to be believed. Rather than being thrown out instantaneously, the pair gets stunned silence, a few laughs and even some interest from WTO members, along with some news coverage. Amazingly, no one seems to question either what they were saying, or throw them out. They even get asked to stay for a Q & A session.

The next stop - speaking in front of another confrence on "reusing" post-consumer waste and making it into fast food for the Third World's starving. One of the "Men" notes that, "A single hamburger can be eaten 10 times", much to the horror of the audience of students, who are the only one of the groups who actually respond to the pranks and finally seem to actually understand that they're in the middle of a big goof. Finally, they go to Australia to announce something big regarding the WTO organization.

The picture runs very quickly at 82 minutes, focusing on the events that the "Men" attend. However, it's odd that we don't get more background into their history, or how they are able to pull off these pranks - in terms of planning (although we see some of that) and in terms of finances. Still, this is a fasinating documentary about a group of folks who try to push the envelope and send a message to an audience who doesn't seem to have their minds tuned in enough to realize that they're in the midst of a very creative prank.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Yes Men" is presented by MGM/UA in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture appears to have been filmed on fairly low-budget digital cameras, and the image quality reflects that. Sharpness and detail are generally acceptable, but the picture has a slightly rough, "digital" look at times.

There weren't any other issues in regards to the image quality. No pixelation or edge enhancement were seen, and the elements used seemed perfectly fine. Colors were largely natural, although they seemed slightly flat/undersaturated at times.

SOUND: "The Yes Men" is presented in Dolby 2.0. The film's soundtrack seemed perfectly fine, with clear dialogue. It's "documentary audio" so there's obviously no need for anything beyond the basic 2.0 audio found here.

EXTRAS: The main supplement is a very funny commentary from Yes Men Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, with directors Chris Smith, Dan Ollman and Sarah Price. The commentary explains more about the "Men"'s operations and has some great stories about shooting. Also included on the disc are 4 deleted scenes and trailers for plenty of other MGM titles.

Final Thoughts: "The Yes Men" is a very interesting and enjoyable documentary feature about guys who pull pranks - and get some surprising reactions - to try and get their message across. The DVD offers image and sound quality that's to be expected, given the low-budget material, and a couple of good supplements. Recommended for documentary fans and others should at least give it a try as a rental.

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